that being an author isn’t painful.
An excerpt from an email from my publisher: “Some books are just that way. They’re great books, have good reviews, and for one reason or another, they just don’t sell well.”
That is a painful reality to accept. I look at the positive reviews—and how many people have connected to Frank, and the rest of the “cast” of the Blood Soaked books—and know that the work isn’t spreading beyond this tight knot of people in the way I might hope for.
I value each and every person I have connected with from when I first self-published until today. You guys are the reason why I’ve kept going, but somehow, this has become about making money for me, and for competing for success… but not really, because I’m not fighting for that success. On some level, I’m expecting it to happen by itself, and putting all the responsibility on the readers, you guys.
I am spoiled by having gone viral by accident during my crap with Amazon in 2011.
The harsh realities of being an author include things like these, when you are forced to look at the forest, instead of the trees. Blood Soaked and Gone, which so many people are asking for, is on the back burner for release because my sales are lackluster. I need to know what the mechanism is behind properly marketing my work, in order to realize the success I have found I want.
The existence of Blood Soaked and Denied (Blood Soaked 4, in progress) as a Permuted Press product hinges on this… or not. I have the option of finding another publisher if I don’t accept their proposed offer, or to do it on my own. I need to find out where my priorities are. Am I more attached to writing a good story than I am to remaining a member of a club I have cared about?
Another realization I’m having is that as hard as I’ve tried not to take business personally, I’m taking very personally. Feeling failure, shame, and vulnerability, are a part of this process. It would be a lie to tell you that I’m enjoying this.
It is simpler to take the easy way. I have a history of that, because so many things have come easily to me.
Yes, I’m one of those people. I can go from zero to competent in a very short period of time, if I am excited about the end result. My knifemaking is an example of this. My decorative metalwork is an example of this. My writing is another.
When it becomes work, or starts to hurt, I really want to stop. When I receive criticism that penetrates my heart, I want to stop. I am scared, unsure, and I want to stop.
That was written last week. My wife suggested that I sit on it and decide whether or not I want to let it flap around in the big internet. I do, and it isn’t because I want to whine in public.
Face it, being a writer is hard. You spend a huge amount of time preparing to toss a product of love (blood, sweat, tears, angst, lost sleep) into the world, praying that it will find a warm reception. Sometimes you get that, but a lot of times, you don’t.
There are moments, as a writer, when you feel almost transcendent joy, and more when it feels like your heart is being pulled through your nose with sharp tweezers. This is the reality of what we do, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share every side of the experience with you.
Rejection is a reality, and it hurts. Bad reviews are a reality, and they sting. Creating a good novel, but seeing that your sales are poor, is frustrating as hell. Marketing yourself is a chore, unless you really have your act together, and maddening. Reaching one new person, seeing that they understand what you were trying to do, is what keeps you going.
Vulnerability is a stone cold bastard.